New Pulp Press

"Bullets, Booze and Bastards"

Sample story from On The Edge


Oliveras stood behind the yellow tape like everyone else and watched.
The Royale, Reno’s oldest casino, was about to be demolished. Detective Ruben Oliveras sipped his coffee, watching the crowd who waited for the countdown to begin. To his right, a man was telling his girlfriend how he’d once seen a building get demo’d back in Newark. Heavy Jersey accent, Adidas track suit with the gold trim. He kept on using the term demo’d, trying to show off, saying how he watched a warehouse in Newark go down. It wasn’t like this, though. No one came out to watch. His girlfriend, tall and in an expensive looking evening dress with a plunging neckline, answering with a series of bored “uh-huhs,” had a look on her face that plainly read: how much more of this can I take? She wrapped her arms about her body, trying to stay warm, but it was November and it was cold and she needed a damn jacket.
“How you think it’s gonna go down?” Oliveras turned and faced a heavy shouldered, bullet-headed man with a smirk planted across a squared face. It was his new partner on the force, John Ford.
Ford looked like he once boxed competitively and had the nose and rough hands to match. A cigarette hung on his lips with his hands thrust deep into the pockets of his black overcoat. “My buddy on the bomb squad, you might know him, said that the bomb had been in the lobby for five days before it was discovered. Can you believe that shit?”
Oliveras continued to study the crowd through his aviator sunglasses, his hair slicked back. Almost six feet tall, he was broad shouldered and lean, which gave him the appearance of being taller than he actually was. He often wore a menacing glare that conveyed he was a man not to be toyed with. He rarely smiled, and always looked on with contempt and anger. But he had his own way about him. Women who managed to penetrate through his cold exterior found a man who could be charming and warm.
“Look who it is. Reno’s finest citizen.” Oliveras motioned with his chin towards the opposite street corner, ignoring Ford’s inquiry.
Ford fixed his eyes on a figure standing across the street. “Bobby Scags. What’s he doing here? Who’s that with him?”
Oliveras could see Bobby Scags smiling, taking an inventory of the scene. “He’s watching his competition suffer like a stuck pig. I don’t know who the broad is. Just a new piece of ass, I suppose. Good looking arm candy. We should talk to her.”
The competition, Jack Murray, the owner of The Royale, was powerless to stop his casino from getting destroyed. The experts were saying that it would sustain so much structural damage it would be cheaper to tear the casino down.
Bobby Scagaletti or Scags, as he was affectionately known, looked like a fast-talking car salesman with a thick mane of white hair atop a tanned face and neatly kept beard. He favored dark shiny suits with cowboy boots. Standing naked, Scags stood at just five feet. The boots gave him an extra two inches. As the owner of the Stardome Casino, he was Jack’s only major Reno competition. He would often walk the floors of his casino, shaking hands, posing for autographs and smiling. Bobby Scags was also the local mob figure but had yet to be convicted and he basked in the limelight it provided. The destruction of The Royale would be in his mind be a boon for business. Looking at Scags now, Oliveras was reminded of his mother who said never trust a man in a beard.
“She’s not going to know shit,” Ford said.
“Maybe. Maybe Scags is getting sloppy,” Oliveras replied.
“What I don’t get about this place, about this town, is why anybody comes to Reno. Why not just pony up the bucks and go to Vegas? Do it right. I’ve been here long enough and that still gets me,” Ford said.
The man with the Adidas tracksuit, overhearing the conversation, started to turn to say something to Oliveras, but after catching a glimpse of Ford, thought better of it.
Oliveras said smirking, “And Vegas is much classier.”
Ford didn’t know what to make of Oliveras. Partners for just three months, their relationship, like any, needed work. But Ford wasn’t complaining, neither was Oliveras. Ford, a transfer from San Diego PD, was assigned to Oliveras to learn how it’s done in Reno.
“You want me to pick ‘em up?”
“We’ll wait. They’re not going anywhere.”
Oliveras continued to study the crowd, not saying anything.
“Who do you think did it? Scags? Jack?” Ford looked directly at Oliveras.
Oliveras took a pull from his coffee and winced at the taste. “Some broke-dick crew trying to run things. It’s amateur hour in there.” He endured another sip of his coffee before speaking again. “Come with me. I think I just saw Jack.”